President’s Cup.

Triple Nine Lands Sensational 4th President’s Cup

Triple Nine galloped his way in to Korean racing history books at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon as he cruised to an unprecedented fourth consecutive win in the President’s Cup. The six-year-old struck the front a furlong and a half from home and eased to a dominant six-length win to eclipse the achievement of Dangdae Bulpae, who won three straight editions of the nation’s biggest race for domestically-bred horses between 2012 and 2012.

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Triple Nine in the President’s Cup winner’s circle

At a packed Seoul Racecourse on a bright autumn afternoon, Triple Nine was sent off as the odds-on favourite for the 2000M test which for the past fifteen years has decided the Champion Korean bred horse of the year and has also been when the season’s three-year-old Classic winners face the best older horses for the first time. So that was to be this time with Ecton Blade and World Sun, winners of the Korean Derby and Minister’s Cup respectively both taking their chance.

 Neither was able to show very much. Ecton Blade, a stablemate of Triple Nine, was hindered by a wide draw and was scarcely involved while World Sun, a closer, did eventually arrive on the scene but far too late. Other fancied contenders Cheonji Storm and Gangtoma also offered little. Instead it was left to Gasokbulpae, more noted as a sprinter and sent off at odds in excess of 90/1 and who set a game pace throughout, and Yaho Sky Cat, a 130/1 outsider to get the closest, eventually finishing in 3rd and 2nd respecitively. Another long-shot, Ultra Rocket was 4th.

They might as well have been in a different race to Triple Nine. Kim Young-Kwan’s stable star settled in midfield and gradually improved down the back straight before being shaken up by jockey Lim Sung Sil on the turn for home. From then on it was inevitable and Triple Nine duly took a stranglehold on the race in the home straight.

 The margin on the line was six-lengths, the greatest in Triple Nine’s President’s Cup. The time was his second quickest, half a second slower than last year’s. Then though he had Power Blade to contend with. While this year’s competition may not have been the strongest, the sheer consistency of Triple Nine over the past three years, as well as his exploits in Dubai in 2017, surely takes him to the top of the all-time ranks of Korean-bred horses, even ahead of Power Blade.

 Bred by Isidore Farm on Jeju Island, Triple Nine has won 14 of his 30 races in Korea and placed 3rd and 4th in the first two editions of the Korea Cup. For trainer Kim Young-Kwan it was a record fourteenth Group 1 winner while for jockey Lim Sung Sil, it was a fifth G1. Three of those have now been on Triple Nine in the President’s Cup while he matched his mount’s achievement having also ridden Indie Band to win the race in 2013.

It may not be over yet. The Grand Prix Stakes is a possibility next month and given Triple Nine’s career to date, a return next year for a previously unthinkable fifth President’s Cup is surely not impossible.

 

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Triple Nine Bids To “Winx” The President’s Cup: Race-By-Race Preview (November 4)

Triple Nine will be seeking to enter the history books at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday as the three-time President’s Cup (KOR G1) winner, bids to add an unprecedented fourth consecutive victory in the top Group 1 race for Korean-bred horses. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 plus 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10. Here are the previews with horse-by-horse notes for the President’s Cup which is race 9 on the program at Seoul, scheduled to be off at 16:45″

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Can Triple Nine make it into the President’s Cup winner’s circle for the 4th time? (Pic: KRA)

Last year, Triple Nine equaled the great Dangdae Bulpae’s record of the consecutive President’s Cup victories which were achieved between 2010 and 2012. Unlike Dangdae Bulpae, who was retired after an unsuccessful tilt at the 2013 edition, the Kim Young-kwan-trained six-year-old will be a firm favourite to write his name into Korean racing folklore.

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(1) SAEROUN CAPTAIN just missed out by half a length when 2nd at this distance on what was his fourth career start at the end of September. He led until almost the very end that day and this time can get home on top. (6) HWANSANGUI BIT didn’t do himself justice over 1300M last start but should be better dropped back to the minimum today and is likely to join Saeroun Captain on the early pace. (7) SONGAM BARBIE has only raced twice, improving to 2nd on the latest of those a month ago, just beaten a neck and she can go close as well. (5) JEONGSANG GOLD was 5th in that race, overcoming a difficult start and is another who looks on the up.

Selections (1) Saeroun Captain (6) Hwansangui Bit (7) Songam Barbie (5) Jeongsang Gold
Next Best 4, 8
Fast Start 1, 3, 6

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens here and only one of them has ever raced before. That was (5) GOLD PERILLA and based on that one race, we’ll leave him well alone. (1) COILRO enters as the only trial winner and while his time wasn’t the quickest, he looked competent and the Simon Foster/Antonio Da Silva combination could be enough to make him favourite. Fastest in trials was (4) HAMYANG SANSAM. She’s half-sister to plenty of average racehorses and could well have a win in her at this level. (2) BANJIUI HAMSEONG caught the eye too when running 3rd in his heat at the end of September. With a top jockey on board, he’ll attract money too. (8) BEST HILL and (10) VICTORY KING could also go well first-up. As ever in this type of race, the market may be the best guide.

Selections (1) Coilro (4) Hamyang Sansam (2) Banjiui Hamseong (10) Victory King
Next Best 8, 3
Fast Start 2, 5, 12

Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(7) WONDERFUL TRUTH was a nice-looking six-length winner over 1000M on debut on October 6th and while she’s up in both class and distance today, she’s worth putting on top again in this all-filly contest. She should be able to get to the lead from gate 7 and can go all the way. (8) FLYING HERA remains a maiden but goes well at this trip and was 3rd in arguably a slightly stronger race than this at the distance on September 9th and she’ll be one of the dangers, as will another maiden (6) RAON MIRACLE. She has plenty of experience at this level and her recent forms reads well. (3) GOLDSTAR HILLS has been around the block a few times and drops back in trip today and into the frame while (9) RISING SOCKS acquitted herself well running 5th in a similar race to this last time and can build on that here.

Selections (7) Wonderful Truth (8) Flying Hera (3) Goldstar Hills (6) Raon Miracle
Next Best 9, 2
Fast Start 2, 3, 7

Race 4: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(1) WINT SEVEN ran 3rd on debut in August and after having a couple of minor hoof problems returned to trial in October in which he as extremely impressive. He’ll be one of the shortest-priced favourites of the day and should win. He’s one of only five of the twelve who have raced before and among the other experienced ones, only (6) CAMPING MANIA really convinced and she’ll be a danger. Of the first-time starters, (4) SAMAE (more…)

Can He Make It Four In A Row? Triple Nine’s President’s Cups So Far

A year ago, Triple Nine emulated Dangdae Bulpae in winning the President’s Cup for the third consecutive year. Now the six-year-old has a chance to enter unchartered territory as he bids to take home the trophy an unprecedented 4th time.

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Triple Nine (Picture: Alex Cairns)

It’s not only never been done in the President’s Cup before but it would be a first time in any Korean Group Race. Here are his wins so far:

2015 – Reward at least after Classic near-misses

Having finished 2nd in the Korean Derby to Yeongcheon Ace and 2nd in the Minister’s Cup to Rock Band, Triple Nine beat both his fellow three-year-olds to more than make amends for missing out in the Triple Crown races. Under Lim Sung-sil, Triple Nine was sent out as slight faovurite and stalked the early leaders before unleashing in the home straight to score by three-lengths from Rock Band and outsider Ildeung Hanghaesa.

2016 – Putting his Stablemate, the Triple Crown winner, firmly in his place

Stablemate Power Blade had won all three legs of the Triple Crown but he was no match for Triple Nine, who two months earlier had also finished ahead of him in the inugural Korea Cup. The younger horse could get no closer than three-lengths on the line as Seo Seung-un steered Triple Nine to a comfortable win. Success Story, who had run well at the Dubai World Cup Carnival at the stand of the year came home in 3rd place. Two months later, both Triple Nine and Power Blade would themselves jet off for successful stints in Dubai.

2017 – Beating Power Blade Again

With Power Blade having recently finally started to get the better of his rival, most pundits were of the opinion that this time there would be a changing of the guard. Not a bit of it as with Lim Sung-sil up once more, Triple Nine collared Power Blade with a furlong to go, zipping by him as if he was wasn’t there to claim his hat-trick by two-legnths on the line. The board ended up identical to that od 2016 with Success Story once more in 3rd.

Dangdae Bulpae won three consective President’s Cups between 2010 and 2012 but while he did attempt a fourth in 2013, it proved a race too far as he finished 10th of 16 as Indie Band took victory and was retired afterwards. Both Indie Band and Dangdae Bulpae are now retired at Isidore Farm on Jeju Island – the farm where Triple Nine was foaled.

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Dangdae Bulpae now has his own bronze statue at Busan Racecourse (although his greatest wins were at Seoul he, just like Triple Nine, was trained on the South Coast). Triple Nine’s statue is already assured. If he wins on Sunday, it may just be in Gold.

Triple Nine’s Stamina Defies Doubters To Land 3rd President’s Cup

In the end the punters were much closer to getting it right than the pundits. The vast majority of the Korean racing world had managed to convince itself that when it came to the rivalry between Triple Nine and Power Blade, the younger horse was now in charge, even at 2000M. Bettors, however, sent the pair off as pretty much co-favourites and ultimately it was Triple Nine who prevailed at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday to match the achievement of Dangdae Bulpae in winning three consecutive President’s Cups.

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Triple Nine beat Power Blade to win his 3rd President’s Cup at Seoul on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

l was guiltier than most, having gone from believing at the start of the week that Triple Nine still had every chance over his preferred distance to by the time of the race, being sure Power Blade would win. In the end, it wasn’t even close with Triple Nine collaring his rival a furlong from home and running on to win by an ever-increasing two lengths.

Triple Nine was given a very good ride by Lim Sung Sil who this year has established himself as the top big race rider in Korea. This was his third Group race victory of the year (more impressive than it sounds given the limited number), achieved on three different horses and he is likely to ride favourite World Sun in the Breeders’ Cup race back at Seoul in early December. Then of course, there is the prospect of Triple Nine in the Grand Prix Stakes.

Lim is an infrequent rider, his minimum weight of 54kg not being conducive to regular mounts in Korea, but some of the rides he has produced – initiative in the Minister’s Cup and timing in last week’s Gimhae Mayor’s Cup and of course on Triple Nine on Sunday – mark him out as a cut above most here.

Ultimately, the President’s Cup finishing order was exactly the same as last year, with Triple Nine winning, Power Blade 2nd and Success Story 3rd. Korean Derby winner Final Boss could only manage 4th. He raced prominently throughout but never looked likely in the home straight and is perhaps not quite at the very elite level yet. That elite level is set by the winner and runner-up, ten lengths clear of the rest.

Korean racing has been very lucky to have both Triple Nine and Power Blade over the past two years. Their performances over the summer must surely put an end to the general belief on the backstretches in Seoul and Busan that travelling overseas to race is detrimental to horses’ chances of racing successfully in Korea. Granted it took both a while to readjust on their return from Dubai and they probably did miss out on winning some easy prize money in routine handicaps – and granted too, remarkably this was Triple Nine’s first race win since the corresponding one a year ago. But both could have probably used the spell anyway after long campaigns.

Moreover, Power Blade especially came back a better horse and it has now been demonstrated that Triple Nine lost nothing either with both having beaten the other at their preferred trips. There is, of course a reason why in September, Power Blade ran in the Korea Sprint and Triple Nine in the Korea Cup. While Triple Nine will head for the Grand Prix, Power Blade almost certainly won’t and at least for him, another trip to Dubai would make perfect sense, even if he has to forego an easy win or two here. For now, connections remain unconvinced.

Dangdae Bulpae, whose three-timer Triple Nine has now equaled, did attempt a fourth in 2013. It was a race too far for him. A year is a very long time in flat racing but hopefully Triple Nine will still be here.

Seoul & Busan Sunday – Triple Nine vs Power Blade in the President’s Cup: Race-By-Race Preview (November 5)

Triple Nine heads into Sunday’s President’s Cup (KOR G1) at Seoul Racecourse looking to match Dangdae Bulpae’s feat of three consecutive wins in what is the nation’s most valuable race restricted to Domestic-bred horses. More likely though is that we witness a changing of the guard of sorts as stablemate Power Blade will be favourite to assert his own claim to be top of the Korean racing tree.

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Power Blade won the Korean Derby this year. He gets the chance to depose Triple Nine in the President’s Cup (Pic: Ross Holburt)

That transition is almost complete. Both went to the Dubai World Cup Carnival and represented Korea with extremely creditable performances but since they’ve come back, it’s Power Blade who has gone on to excel. That’s not to say that Triple Nine is demonstrably any worse; just that that Power Blade has got better and better and the younger horse has already downed Triple Nine at distances of 1400M and a Mile.

Neither are straightforward horses. Power Blade needs urging all the way around while Triple Nine takes a very long time to reach his top gear. It’s those factors which combine with the 2000M distance of the President’s Cup that gives Triple Nine backers a glimmer of hope. Power Blade now though, is good enough to extinguish it.

Traditionally in Korea this would be the race where the top three-year-olds of the year faced their older counterparts in a Group race for the first time. Indeed, Korean Derby winner Final Boss takes his chance. Similar to the two favourites, he is anything but straightforward but on his day, looks an exceptional talent. Daeho Sidae, who beat Final Boss in the final leg of the Triple Crown also goes.

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(1) DUSON EYE just missed out by a neck over 1000M on October 1st and he’s the pick to go one better here, likely leading all the way. (2) SKY CAMP has been 3rd in both his starts so far, albeit in less than exalted company and there’s no reason why that record can’t continue here. He’ll likely join Duson Eye up front early. (5) GEUMEUN JUOK was well back behind Duson Eye on latest effort but had shown glimpses of talent before while debut-maker (3) BAEKDUUI JEONGSANG has to be given a chance in this company having trialled up in decent fashion last month.

Selections (1) Duson Eye (2) Sky Camp (3) Baekduui Jeongsang (5) Geumeun Juok
Next Best 9, 11
Fast Start 1, 2, 11

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(8) HIGH STAR comes in having run 3rd and 4th in her latest two, both of them similarly modest contests to this one. She’s not necessarily the fastest of starters but will run on and could get her maiden win here. (3) O.J. HWAK DAB gets a fresh start today. She’s not been convincing in two outings to date but looked much improved when trialling up in October and can be backed here. (2) SOJUNGHAN SEONGBUL’s latest two have been too difficult and she should be much happier today – the champion jockey riding her will (more…)

Triple Nine Bests Power Blade To Retain President’s Cup

Triple Nine pulled clear of stablemate and Triple Crown Power Blade to convincingly retain his President’s Cup title at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon.

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Triple Nine wins the President’s Cup (Pic: Alex Cairns/The Winning Post)

Triple Nine had previously got the best of Power Blade by four lengths as the pair ran 3rd and 4th behind Japan’s Chrysolite in September’s Billion Won Korea Cup and while the circumstances of that race were rather unusual, punters sent the older colt, who convincingly beat Rock Band in last year’s race, as the slight favourite with Success Story the only other one of the ten-strong field to be backed to any extent.

Success Story would, as ever, show the way in the 2000M race, Korea’s equal-richest, along with the Derby, that is restricted to locally bred horses. Racing for the first time since being gelded, the 5-year-old brought the field along with Power Blade right on pace beside him while Triple Nine, under Seo Seung Un for the first time, settled in his usual midfield position.

Jockey Seo asked Triple Nine to improve as they rounded the final turn and the 4-year-old effortlessly glided up alongside the leaders. Into the home straight and Success Story was the first to fall out of contention leaving the stablemates to go stride for stride until the furling pole. Entering the closing stages, however, Power Blade’s challenge wilted and Triple Nine pulled clear to win by a commanding five lengths on the line. Success Story was a further four back in 3rd.

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Triple Nine waiting to be brought out for the post-race presentation (Pic: Alex Cairns/The Winning Post)

In yet another assertion of the southern-track’s superiority when it comes to quality,  Busan horses accounted for the first five place-getters with Baedari Bobae running 4th and Zettabyte, 2nd in both of the final two legs of the Triple Crown coming home in 5th.

The victory was Triple Nine’s 11th in 19 career starts to date. He has never finished any worse than 4th. Neither has Power Blade and the pair of them are both potential entries for the Dubai World Cup Carnival in the New Year although it is possible the Grand Prix Stakes next month could be the agenda for one or both of them. For jockey Seo Seung Un it was a first Korean Group 1 winner. For trainer Kim Young Kwan, it was a 10th.

The President’s Cup (KOR G1) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – November 13, 2016

1. Triple Nine (KOR) [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] – Seo Seung Un – 1.8, 1.0
2. Power Blade (KOR) [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain)] – Kim Yong Geun – 1.1
3. Success Story (KOR) [Peace Rules – Power Pack (Lil’s Lad)] – You Hyun Myung – 1.7
Distances: 5 lengths / 4 lenghs
Also Ran: 4. Baedari Bobae 5. Zettabyte 6. Cheonji Storm 7 .Sotong Sidae 8. Pinot Noir 9. Top Fighter 10. Impetus NR: Brig

The President’s Cup: Power Blade vs Triple Nine (and 10 more) – Full Preview

Along with the Korean Derby, the President’s Cup is the richest race in Korea restricted to locally bred horses. That means it usually attrcts the best from Seoul and Busan and this year is no exception as Triple Crown winner Power Blade takes on his stablemate and winner of this race last year, Triple Nine over 2000M at Seoul Racecourse.

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Triple Nine was 3rd in the Korea Cup – he returns to Seoul as potential favourite for the President’s Cup (Pic: Ross Holburt)

Here’s a full run-down of the field:

The President’s Cup (KOR G1) – Seoul Racecourse – 2000M – Sunday November 13, 2016 (16:40)

1. Success Story [Peace Rules – Power Pack (Lil’s Lad)] 5 G (23/10/3/6) – You Hyun Myung
He was gelded last month and won’t be returning to the Dubai World Cup Carnival int he New Year. Two 3rds and most recently a strong 2nd behind Triple Nine in a Stakes race in August. He’ll be on pace early. Needs to be sensibly ridden to give him a chance of holding off Triple Nine late on.

2. Sotong Sidae [Gold Money – Myeonggauihuye (Black Minnaloushe)] 5 G (34/9/5/8) – Park Byeong Yun
Probably Seoul’s best he comes in having won back to back class 1’s over 1800M both in his familiar fast closing fashion. He will go back as usual and he can beat plenty in the closing stages.

3. Zettabyte [Menifee – Fight Back (Sakura Seeking)] 3 C (11/4/4/1)
4th in the Cup Mile and then 2nd to Power Blade in both the Derby and the Minister’s Cup, he makes a strong case for being the 2nd best of his his crop. Returned to winning ways with a facile five-length win at Busan in September, if he can be reasonably handy, we know he can finish strongly at this distance and a place is possible.

4. Pinot Noir [Capital Spending – Neungnyeokchungman (Pacificbounty)] 6 M (29/7/8/2) – Park Hyun Woo
One of the best racemares in Korea, she began the year with a Listed and a Stakes win but has struggled a little of late. Beaten by Brig in September she could only manage 5th in the Jeju Governor’s Cup last month. Today’s distance is ideal but the competition may be a little stiff.

5. Royal Impact [Cielo Gold – Skeemo (Meadowlake) 5 H (34/5/6/8) – Song Keong Yun
Ten lengths behind Power Blade in the Gukje Sinmun last month and that was only because the race was only over 1400M. Creditable 5th behind Triple Nine and Success Story in the Owners’ Cup but he has too much to find here. Most likely to settle at the rear of the field and hope to pick some off late on.

6. Triple Nine [Ecton Park – A Little Poke (Pleasant Tap)] 4 C (18/10/6/1) – Seo Seung Un
Bested Power Blade by four lengths in what was admittedly a rather crazy running of the Korea Cup. He is very good but has suffered surprising defeats to Diferent Dimension and Beolmaui Kkum this year. He finished very strongly in the Cup and the distance should be ideal. He has a big chance of successfully defending his title.

7. Brig [Menifee – Delicias (Deputy Minister)] 6 H (36/9/8/1) – Djordje Perovic
Returned to form recently with a pair of 2nd places in class 1 company, including at this distance. Narrowly beaten a neck last time, a further nose ahead of Impetus, who also goes here. HIs improvement in form has coincided with Djordje Perovic starting to ride him but even so, this will be challenging.

8. Power Blade [Menifee – Cheonmacheong (Lost Mountain)] 3 C (11/8/2/0) – Kim Yong Geun
Many thought that the Korea Cup would be a race too far for the Triple Crown winning colt but he raced well and came home 4th. That’s his only defeat this year and he returned to Busan to win the Gukje Sinmun last month beating Seoul Bullet who burnished his own credentials with an easy win last week. Versatile but expected to be close to the early pace here, he can win.

9. Cheonji Storm [Admire Don – Great Thought (Empire Maker)] 3 C (10/5/2/1) – Ham Wan Sik
An exciting colt still on the way up. He was 6th in the Korean Derby but has two wins from three outings since including the HRI Trophy at this distance on international weekend. He’ll be on the speed early and shouldn’t be over-matched. He’s the wildcard choice for a place.

10. Baedari Bobae [Colors Flying – Geumgang Gongwon (Pacificbounty)] 3 C (15/3/6/3) – Lee Sung Jae
3rd in the Minister’s Cup, four lengths behind Zettabyte and eleven behind Power Blade, he has some catching up to do. A pair of indifferent performances since don’t inspire confidence in him doing it here. Usually settles in midfield.

11. Impetus [Exploit – Miss Stravinsky (Stravinsky)] 6 H (36/7/3/9) – Jo Jae Ro
Beaten a nose into 3rd place by Brig last start, less than half a length behind the winner. However, the last time he won was July of 2015 and that doesn’t look set to change here. Given his draw, he’s likely to be ridden patiently.

12. Top Fighter [Gaeseon Janggun – Escaped Love (Lost Soldier)] 5 G (26/3/4/4) – Kim Eu Soo
No real chance here, he is yet to win at a higher level than class 3. Most recently 3rd over 1200M, he may as well go as quick as possible out of the gate and see what happens.

Verdict: (8) Power Blade (6) Triple Nine (1) Success Story (9) Cheonji Storm